Responsibilities Of A Husband

God has provided us with a marriage "manual". After all, who is more capable than God, the designer of the home, to write a manual on marriage? The home can survive only if the relationship of husband and wife is what it ought to be.

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it;" (Ephesians 5:25). Husbands are the "head of the wife" and as the ruler of the marriage, he must bear chief responsibility for the failure of it. Where husbands have failed, more often than not, is to love their wives as Christ loved the church and to give themselves for their wives as Christ gave Himself for the church. The source of love can be seen in that love is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). The Spirit strengthens the inward man with power (Ephesians 3:14-16). When Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, we are rooted and grounded in love. (Ephesians 3:17-19). We know faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). It is not enough for husbands and wives to believe that God is, that Jesus is His Son, and that the Bible is inspired of God. We need to turn off our TV, sit down with the Bible in hand, pray together, and take the time to put into our minds and persons the principles of righteousness. It is only when truth prevails, that love, joy, and peace will rule the home.

Bible love is defined in Romans 13:9: "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." This kind of love will ever seek the highest good of others. It is not dependent upon how its fellows treat, nor does it matter who or what its fellows are, nor does it matter what their attitude toward it is. This kind of love is not a reaction of the heart but an attitude of mind, a determination of the will. Christ loved the church enough to give Himself for it. A husband, who imitates Christ, will not put his own needs first; he must deny himself. Nothing his wife says or does must interfere with and defeat the unselfish spirit that promotes her well-being.

A husband must also love his wife as he does his own self (Ephesian 5:28,29). Thus, the care a husband has for himself and his own needs becomes the basis for loving his wife. A good husband "puts on his wife's shoes", so to speak, to see what love demands. This is called understanding and love without it is blind. He "nurishes"her. This means to "promote health and strength" but not just the physical but the mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health, as well. He "cherishes" her. The word means literally "to impart warmth". It is the same kind of tender care Jesus spoke of in Matthew 23:37, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.". "Nurish" and "cherish" suggest the compassion and concern husbands must have for their wives.

This kind of love has no boundaries. The ideal marriage rest on the spiritual development of husbands after the likeness of Christ. Until husbands are transformed by the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16) and bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) in their lives, they will not be transformed into the image of God's Son. (Romans 8:29). Therefore, they cannot translate that image into a loving leadership in their marriage.

It is interesting how that many today look at the apostle Paul as a "male chauvinist" and a "woman hater" and, yet, if husbands loved their wives, as Paul taught, wives would be loved, honored, and appreciated. Men would recognize their wives as persons of worth, esteem then as beings of inner beauty, and view her as the queen of the home. Indeed, spiritual beauty has been sacrificed on the altar of selfishness because husbands have not offered themselves in the love that Christ has for the church. Husbands must commit themselves to genuine love. Until they do, they will continue to abuse the rule of the household, deny honor to their wives, and refuse to dwell with them according to knowledge.

"For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church..." (Ephesians 5:23). Here is where most misunderstandings and outright rejection of God's design for the home occurs. Many husbands think of their wives as servants and rule them in the absence of love. This is not God's plan or design. Again, Christ is to be the example.

The husband's rule of the wife, as is his love for her, is illustrated by the rule of Christ over the church. Before a husband can rule his wife, he must commit himself to understanding Christ's rule of the church. The word "head" in the Greek is from the word "kephale" which means "Metaph. anything supreme, chief, prominent; of persons, master, lord:" (Thayer, p. 345). The husband is the "head" in the marriage relationship. As Christ has absolute authority over the church as its head, husbands have absoulte authority over the wife for he is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. Here is where the misunderstanding begins because this sounds harsh in terms of the marriage relationship. However, we must understand how the absolute rule of Christ over the church comes from His infinite love. Christ is a "benevolent Lord" and rules in the interest of His subjects. This is how husbands are to do it, as well. Jesus offers an "easy" yoke, a "light" burden, and "rest" for our souls. (Matthew 11:28,29). He assures "blessed" (happiness) to His subjects. (Matthew 5:1-12).

That husbands are to be the "head" (Ephesians 5:23) of the wife and are to "rule" their households (1 Timothy 3:5) cannot be disputed. But that rule must cause the husband to put the wife's interest and needs ahead of his because of his love for her. He should want to seek her good, to provide for her, and satisfy her deepest needs. He is to be an unselfish husband who approaches marriage to give and not to get. Marriage to a husband must not be a demand for power, lust for sex, or the need for a servant. Husbands must be "heads" like Christ is the head of the church.

Husbands must "honor" their wife.(1 Peter 3:7). "Honor" means "primarily a valuing, hence, objectively, a price paid." "Her price is far above rubies" (Proverbs 31:10). A wife's value raises serious questions for the husband: (a) Can her worth be seen in the decisions he makes? (b) Can her worth be seen in his actions? (c) Can her worth be seen in his words? (d) Does he express his appreciation for her? (e) Is what she means to him made know to her? (f) Does he praise her? (Proverbs 31:28) (g) Does he recognize and appreciate her worth?

Husbands need to listen to their wives. Understanding needs to be a primary goal that a husband sets. Communication is essential to understanding. Listening is necessary to communication. Husbands (and wives) need to listen to one another. Yet, this is especially difficult for husbands because wives, for the most part, are willing to talk but husbands, for the most part, are not good listeners. 1 Peter 3:7 teaches that husbands are to "dwell with your wives according to knowledge." Husbands need to know their wives. If a husband loves and honors his wife, he will seek to know her throughly. A husband must understand his wife has: (1) Spiritual Needs. Joshua 24:15; 1 Corinthians 16:15. The husband need to take the lead to provide spiritual things. (2) Physical Needs. Man has been given the charge to provide the "bread" for the home (Genesis 3:19; 1 Timothy 5:8). The exchanging of roles by husbands and wives in the home is a modern viewpoint but it is unknown to Biblical principles and teaching. (3) Emotional Needs. A husband must appreciate his wife beyond his lust for sexual pleasure. He needs to show his love at all times. Again, unselfishness is the key. (4) Social Needs. A husband must take time for his wife. He did before they were married, he needs to after the marriage regardless of the number of years that have passed.

---E.R. Hall, Jr

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